Written by Ronald Scaglia, email@example.com Friday, 28 December 2012 00:00
After serving in the New York State Assembly for six years, the 17th Assembly District will shift drastically beginning next year. Whereas the district previously went from the western Nassau border to East Meadow, it now extends from East Meadow to the eastern border of Nassau, including a huge portion of Massapequa. Tom McKevitt has represented the district since early in 2006 and will continue to do so with the new boundaries. So does he have any reservations about coming to a new area?
“The biggest thing I’m upset about is that All American is on the other side of Merrick Road,” he says with a chuckle as the popular Massapequa restaurant, which McKevitt brings his family to regularly, is just outside of his district’s boundaries.
Massapequans who patronage the hamburger restaurant may have already met McKevitt. For those who haven’t, he hopes to meet everyone in his newly redefined district soon. He says that he plans on visiting every elementary school within the district and that he wants the people he now represents to know that he has “an open door policy” and that those in his district should bring their issues and concerns to him.
“I really do look out for the interests of the constituents and I don’t bow to the interest groups,” McKevitt says. “I’m really looking out for the people I represent.”
The assemblyman comments that the communities that he will soon be representing are very similar to the communities he has represented for almost seven years, consisting of people who want a good education for their children who are trying to make life as affordable as possible. He says this has been getting more difficult during the past several years.
“The economy has been poor, so people just don’t have as much money,” he remarked. “Health care costs and pension costs have been a great stress on local governments so that creates the issue of taxes. That’s why the tax cap was enacted two years ago but that creates even greater stress on school districts and local governments to provide the basic services.”
Because of this, McKevitt says that one of his most important tasks is to fight in Albany to get as much state aid as possible for his district. He says that is going to become extremely important in the coming years, as the state doesn’t have enough revenue, so communities will be fighting over state aid that may be diminished. In addition, because of the costs in helping the state recover from Sandy, the amount of funds available figures to decrease as more state aid will be going to storm recovery as the Federal Government will not be providing enough money to cover all of the expenses. McKevitt was also hoping that state funds could go to job creation, but once again, the money needed for storm recovery may prohibit that.
“I’m going to fight hard as we always do to provide some needs for rebuilding but we can’t expect people to pay any more taxes,” McKevitt says.
The assemblyman has also been an outspoken critic of the Long Island Power Authority. He said that there is a lot of agreement among colleagues in state government that LIPA, as it exists today, is not a good situation, and that there is a strong possibility that a private utility will be running all of the electrical operations on Long Island. He adds that this needs to be done as soon as possible.
On a personal level, McKevitt and his wife, Samantha, who is a social studies teacher, have two young children. A devoted family man, McKevitt routinely makes a long daily commute back and forth to Albany so he doesn’t spend too much time away from his family. McKevitt says that residents will soon learn that he is someone they can turn to for help.
“Whenever people call for help we never ask for their registration,” he commented. “We’re just there to help. That’s my job.”
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00
As voters in the Massapequa Union Free School District approach the Tuesday, May 21, budget vote, the proposed spending plan retains popular educational programs while keeping the rise in spending to 1.49 percent.
Despite what district officials call unprecedented increases in state-mandated employer pension contributions, as well as rising health insurance costs, the overall budget is up just over $2.7 million.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
After Massapequa resident Sol Goldstein and several friends helped finish building a house for a family 20 years ago for Habitat for Humanity, they had a question: “What do we do now?” They were all retired, had enjoyed working together and accomplishing something for a family in need, and wanted to do more.
“I was looking for something [to do] hands-on,” said Joe Botkin, of Williston Park, a retired principal, who had worked with Goldstein in building the home.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Vinny Zanfardino started his coaching career in 1997 when he stepped up to coach his daughter’s Little League team.
What started as a hobby turned into a full-blown obsession for Zanfardino, 48. Coaching became an outlet to do some good for children while staying close to the game he loves: baseball.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
On Saturday, May 18, the Town of Oyster Bay will conduct a ceremony to officially re-name its golf course in honor of Joseph Colby, a resident of Massapequa Park who served as the Town of Oyster Bay’s 56th supervisor. The Honorable Joseph Colby was appointed supervisor in 1977 and was elected to that office five times in the following ten years. He was then elected as a New York State Supreme Court Justice in 1988, a post he held through his retirement from public service in 1992. The unveiling will take place at the main entrance of the course off South Woods Road in Woodbury.
“When the sign for Honorable Joseph Colby Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course is unveiled, it will celebrate an outstanding career in public service,” Supervisor John Venditto said. “Joseph Colby has always had the needs of the public as his top priority and has been widely respected for his innovation and responsiveness. This golf course will now forever bear his name as a tribute to his outstanding legacy.”